Currently, the legislation underpinning the budgetary framework for current expenditure caters only for an annual budgeting process for the health service. The Sláintecare Implementation Strategy commits to reform the funding system to support new models of care and drive value to make better use of resources.
The Government acknowledges the pipeline of new medicines and recognises the value of investment in new drugs where cost-effective. It is estimated that in the region of 97 new indications will receive market authorisation in Europe each year over the next 5 years. This of course poses a funding challenge in the context of the many competing demands on the Exchequer. This challenge will be ameliorated to a degree by the two new Framework Agreements on Pricing and Supply of Medicines finalised late in 2021. The multiannual agreements, with the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) and Medicines for Ireland (MFI) respectively, represent an important step in reducing the cost of medicines and facilitating access to innovative new medicines for patients for the years 2021 to 2025.
The dedicated funding of €30m provided for new medicines in Budget 2022 will facilitate access for patients to new medicines, including those for rare diseases. The HSE and National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE) advise that there are currently a significant number of new drugs currently undergoing assessment. The HSE will robustly assess all of these in line with the criteria contained in the Health Act 2013.